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...well that may not be the God's honest truth. If you haven't checked out the about me section I'm a 24 year old already fed-up/over/tired of the rat race. I want out...by 30. Five and half years to go. Piece of cake. Right?
Let me start by giving you a little more detail about me and my current financial picture. Graduated from a public university 2 years ago with a degree in Finance & Insurance (yes, people go to school for insurance) with no loans due to my father being a disabled vet. After graduating I landed a pretty awesome gig - 1 year rotational training program, all rent and travel employer paid on top of a $50k salary. No rent, no student loans, $50k salary; surely I took full advantage of this opportunity. WRONG. With no reason to really watch expenses since there were none besides groceries and a cell phone bill; the money started to flow out. After nights out drinking, fancy dinners and trips home to visit my girlfriend I would often wonder where all my cash went. A smarter man would have taken this golden opportunity and saved at least $20k.
A year goes by and I finish the training program with only $1,100 in savings. Now that I'm a regular employee, I'm responsible for transportation and rent. So I get an apartment with my girlfriend and buy a reasonably priced car for about $22k. Went from no rent and transportation expenses to $500 in rent (all inclusive living) and a $300 car payment. Although my permanent position came with a $5,000 "raise" I actually took a hit to my disposable income due to the obligations of living and working.
One more year passes and I get tired of paying rent for a place I'm never going to own, so I buy a house. During this time I got another raise of $3,000, but I also now have a $1,100 mortgage, responsible for utilities, furniture, lawn mower, etc. etc. - essentially no real progress. Throw in a puppy, an engagement ring, and credit card; I'm looking at about $210,000 in debt.
Writing this all out allows me to see my issues. I graduate debt free and land a job where I have no expenses outside of groceries and cell phone, but I failed to save. PLAN TO SAVE. With every pay increase, I just had to increase my expenses. 1 step forward 2 steps back. AVOID LIFESTYLE INFLATION. Easier said than done. And that's what pains me the most, all the while I knew what I should have been doing, but for the life of me... I just didn't. I won't allow myself to become more ensnared in the "American Dream". I'm breaking free by 30 and I'm using this blog to keep myself on track. Hopefully I can also help someone else along their way.